Here are my favourite plants this week…
Traditional Perennials: Asiatic Lilies
Asiatic lilies (also known as tiger lilies) come in many colours and heights. Unfortunately I had to give up on them years ago as japanese beetles demolished them every season. I now plant the lily trees featured below, same beautiful bloom, just sturdier and taller stems.
Modern Perennials: Lily Trees
Similar to the more traditional asiatic lilies in appearance and bloom time, lily trees have much stronger stems which makes them more resistant to the japanese beetles that devour the former plant. Lily trees grow to six feet in height by their third season and boast impressive blooms. Every years more and more color variations are available.
Hydrangea bushes have beautiful bloom in white, pink, blue and even mauve. There are several varieties to choose from. The most common is the “snowball” or Annabell type with round blooms that start off pale green in color and change to white.
The pale pink, blue and mauve flower heads belong to the mophead variety, with the color depending on the acidity of the soil it is planted in. For blue blooms slightly acidic soil is required to allow aluminum in the soil to make the blooms blue. Aluminum sulphate can be added to the soil for this purpose. Fertilizer low in phosphorus (middle number on fertilizer packages) and high in potassium (last number on packages) will ensure blooms are blue. For pink blooms slightly alkaline soil is required to prevent any aluminum from making the blooms blue. Adding lime to the soil will increase the pH (make it alkaline) to prevent the soil from absorbing aluminum. Adding fertilizer high in phosphorus (the middle number) also prevents aluminum absorption. If you have trouble making your soil the right pH for the color of blooms you desire, consider planting the hydrangea in a pot where the soil pH is easier to control.
PeeGees or paniculatas have cone shaped, pale pink flower heads and come in tree form as well as bush form. Oakleafs have leaves shaped like those on an oak tree and have cone shaped white blooms that turn to pale pink.
There are many types of ivy to grow; my favourite is the Boston ivy that covers my back deck, creating my “green room.” In the fall the leaves turn bright red before they fall off just before the snow flies.
Annuals: Million Bells
My favourite cascading annual for containers is called Million Bells. They come in many colors, be sure to choose contrasting colours for your containers like the orange and purple above.
Stay tuned for next week’s picks…